Matt Bevin has been governor of Kentucky for three legislative sessions and the best he can come up with is: It’s not my fault.
From the beginning of his administration, Bevin has used politicians, judges, teachers, the media and any other constituency or individual he can find as political pinatas — someone else is always to blame.
Don’t like the budget? It’s the legislature’s fault.
Frustrated by the process? Blame former House Speaker Jeff Hoover’s sordid, sex scandal, which, he claims, ruined our plans for a special session.
That pension crisis? Inherited that problem from years of irresponsible, incompetent politicians.
But, last week his affinity for finger-pointing finally caught up with him. During another teacher protest that shutdown school districts across the state, Bevin blamed a hypothetical crime— sexual assault of a child — on protesting teachers.
Those kids getting molested? It’s those unintelligent, greedy teachers who made sure kids were left alone with sexual predators.
Even his non-apology apology was offensive… but not his fault.
Oh, you didn’t like my comments, he asks? I can’t help it if you don’t understand what I’m trying to say. I’m sorry… sorry you’re too dumb to understand what I was saying.
After three years in Frankfort, Bevin takes zero responsibility for the problems of this state — even if they are a direct result of his own actions, and even if they’re hypothetical!
Using the random issue of child-sexual assault as a straw man in a political dispute is wrong for many reasons. But Bevin is frequently wrong. He was also wrong in his attempt at an apology video — where he went so far as to thank those people who “understood” and “supported” what he was really trying to say.
The question Kentuckians need to be asking is: When will he take ownership over anything?
Kentucky Republicans should realize that he will use, and blame, them — just as fast as does the teachers — when it serves his purpose?
That’s the real reason Bevin vetoed the budget last week: Bevin was using the legislature and process to enhance his own future political ambitions. It’s no coincidence that Bevin vetoed the budget after Americans for Prosperity — a conservative super PAC funded by the Koch brothers, Bevin’s biggest national supporters — came out against it. Knowing Republicans had the votes to override his veto, Bevin could veto the bill and get to argue he was against this spending. In the process, he tars the Kentucky GOP, reinforces his national donor base and conservative credentials… and Kentuckians do not focus their ire on politicians as much because the budget is less austere than the one Bevin initially proposed.
There’s plenty of blame to go around for the budget chaos, but, course, none of it is Bevin’s fault.
Blaming the teachers and their union has been a favorite pastime of Bevin’s, and they were an obvious target, with thousands of them protesting at the Capitol.
Politicians involved in sex scandals are easy targets for finger-pointing. In a tweet Bevin blamed the former speaker of the state House for the chaos in Frankfort: “The only reason we did not have a special session last year is because Jeff Hoover, a married man, was sexually involved with a very young, single member of his staff and was paying hush money to hide his actions… The result was chaos in the KY House that stopped everything.”
In this instance, the governor is deferring responsibility as both head of the state and his party, which holds majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.
But this shouldn’t come as a surprise, it has been his modus operandi since he took office.
Bevin once described his affinity for social media, which parallels with his disdain for traditional media, saying there is “nothing more transparent than live video, me talking straight to you.” After three years and the latest offensive attack on teachers, he’s right, it’s very transparent what’s going on:
Bevin promised pension and budget fixes without actually knowing how to achieve them — at least without sacrificing his future political ambitions. And now he’s playing the only hand he has, which is blaming others for his failures.
Of course, blaming others is a tactic as old as politics itself. But eventually people catch on to someone who always points the finger at others for their messes.
And nobody knows that better than do teachers.